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Prehistoric ghosts revealing new details
Date:12/18/2012

d fossil analysis.

Dr Manning also said: "The technique permits us to tease-out chemical information from fossils, information that you simply cannot see with the naked eye. Such chemical maps can help us see 'ghosts' of original biological structures that only remain in very dilute concentrations in the fossil."

Dr Nick Edwards, a senior author on the paper, said: "This technology changes how we view taphonomy (the study of decaying organisms and how they are fossilized). We can now start looking for traces of animals that are totally invisible in visible light through analysing the bright chemical signature that appear under the powerful gaze of the synchrotron. This 'x-ray vision' will enable palaeontologists to add important information to the biology, anatomy and preservation of ancient life."

The team worked with a leading geochemist, Dr Roy Wogelius (also a senior author), who was instrumental in the development of the techniques deployed by the Palaeontology Research Group. Dr Wogelius said: "These techniques are beginning to redefine the way we study Life on Earth. It is simply fascinating to work with biologists, physicists, chemists and palaeobiologists because at the crossroads of these disciplines lay many new discoveries for science."

Dr Manning and his team hope to analyse more fossils using the Standford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and also the UK based Diamond Lightsource, to reveal new findings from ancient worlds by uncovering the subtle echoes of life left for science to find and interpret.


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Contact: Morwenna Grills
Morwenna.Grills@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-2111
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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